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Promotion Policies

03/24/2015, 9:00am MDT
By Chris Curtis, USWOA Board of Directors

Looking to move up a Category as an Official? Here's how.



by Chris Curtis

                                Chairman USWOA Evaluation Committee                                                                                                                                                          

            As we begin the 2016 international season, many officials will be seeking an upgrade in category.  The requirements for upgrade (and downgrade) have been developed over many years to ensure that USA Wrestling will have properly trained officials to work the many events in the United States.

            The upgrades require that you work at both the state and regional or national level to gain the experience on the mat and knowledge of the rules, at clinics given at every regional and national tournament. These clinics keep officials up to date with the most recent interpretations of the international rules. If an official does not attend clinics, they will not be able make the correct calls and help the coaches and athletes develop an understanding of the rules. It is vital for an official to keep up with the latest rules.  We do a disservice to the wrestlers if we are not as well prepared as they are.

            The upgrade policy allows an official to progress at a pace that lets them grow in understanding an experience so when they do get to the M1 category, they are ready to handle they best wrestlers in the country in any age group.

            CATEGORY M3  An official may join the USWOA at any age and will be given the M3 category. They will begin to referee at the local and state level. As they gain experience working with mentors at the state level they may attend a regional tournament. They must be 17 to referee at a Kids/Cadet Regional or the Kids Nationals. Officials who are 15-16, may only referee the Kids Divisions of a regional or the Kids Nationals. Young referees may not officiate their own age group. Referees must be 18 years old to receive tournament housing at any USA Wrestling event. An M3 official that referees the Cadet/Junior Nationals, must be eligible for promotion to Category M2 and have the permission of their State Officials director of State Chairman.

            CATEGORY M2  Referees may be promoted to Category M2 after they been USWOA members for at least two years and have worked at least one regional or national tournament. They must  receive evaluations from their mat chairmen saying they are ready for promotion. They also must be recommended by their State Officials Director or their State Chairman.

            A Category M2 referee must attend at least one regional or national event each year to maintain their category. This requirement makes sure that the official will attend a clinic and remain current with the latest rules. Category M2 officials may officiate any USA Wrestling event except the USAW National Senior Open and the USAW World Team Trials.

            CATEGORY M1C  To be promoted to Category M1C, an official must have been a Category M2 official for at least two years and worked at least one regional and two national tournaments. At least one of the national events must be in the year they are seeking their upgrade. An official may remain an M2 for as long as they wish, but must work at least a regional each year to keep current. At the events they work they will be evaluated and may be recommended for promotion by their mat chairmen. they must also be recommended for promotion by their Officials Director or their State Chairman.

            The Category M1C referee is a person who has a desire to work at the top levels of competition. They are training to become mat chairmen and be leaders in the USWOA.

            CATEGORY M1  Promotion to Category M1 requires one year as an M1C, and evaluations from at least one regional and one national in the same year. They must be recommended at both events. Their national event must be one of these three. The University Nationals, the Junior Duals and/or the Cadet/Junior Nationals.

            The quickest time frame for promotion from M3 to M1 is five years, it may take longer. If the USWOA Executive Board feels an official shows exceptional ability, they may promote an official early, but this is rare. The Executive Board reviews the evaluations from all the regional and national tournaments at their Annual Fall Meeting usually in October and votes on the upgrades. Letters are then sent out to those upgraded.

            After getting an upgrade, the official must work to maintain their category by working at least one regional or national event. It they do not work, they will be downgraded one category. If they maintain their membership and return to working, they will be evaluated and may be returned to their original category.

            If circumstances arise that prevent an official from working a regional or national event, they may request a waiver for a year. Examples of waivers are military service, illness, financial hardship, family problems, work related problems or other reasons. The waiver request should be sent to the USWOA Office at


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